Learning Through Play

By on February 27, 2018

Helping  Children Experience the World Through Play

Greece Librarian Jennifer Preisser has been with the Greece Public Library for 11 years, she currently works as the Children’s Librarian.

This September 2018 at the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) National Conference, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Preisser will be presenting, to the conference, a program she developed for the Greece Public Library entitled “Inspiring Sensory Play: Babies and Toddlers.”  The Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. ALSC’s network includes more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, children’s literature experts, publishers, education and library school faculty members and other adults dedicated to engaging communities to build healthy successful futures for all children.

ALSC holds a national conference every other year and when a call for proposals to present Children’s Programs at the 2018 Conference was sent out, Preisser consulted with her supervisor, created a slide show and detailed description of her program and submitted it for consideration. It was accepted. “I felt this Early Literacy Skill of Play program was something other librarians and families should know about,” she says.

Pressier says, “I visited the Brooklyn, New York Children’s Library where I got the idea for a sensory program. It snowballed from there. I started with eight sensory stations, it took two years for the program to develop completely, and currently we have 20 stations in the Greece Library Program.”

“Inspiring Sensory Play: Babies and Toddlers” is a monthly program presented at the Greece Library for babies five months up to two years, with an adult. The program focuses on early literacy skills through five specific areas Reading, Writing, Singing, Talk and Play, with a main concentration on learning through Play. Babies can explore a variety of sensory stations including a bubble wrap runway, shredded paper pool, sticky wall, water table, a play box that includes ribbons and lights and more, a total of 20 different stations are set up with one-on-one sensory boards as well as group stations where babies learn social skills such as sharing, taking turns and interaction within a group. A favorite activity of many of the children as they experience the program is playing in the kiddie pools. One pool is filled with balls and another with shredded paper.

The type of play incorporated in the sensory program builds vocabulary, fine and gross motor skills, social skills and confidence. As a baby plays freely, they are exploring their environment. Exploring soft, sticky, wet, smooth, bumpy, and squishy is what sensory play is made of. “Parents love the program. It is a great way for them to learn how play can be very important to learning and they can replicate the play stations at home,” Preisser says. Libraries and parents can implement this program on any budget and create play stations using simple dollar store items.

Jennifer loves her job as the Children’s Librarian at Greece Public Library. “It is great to work for the Town of Greece. We have a great team, they are terrific people to work with. The Town has been very supportive of the Library. I wouldn’t want to be any other place than at the Library. I always tell the children to do what you love to do, and I am fortunate that I can do what I love,” Preisser says.

For more information on The Association of Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) visit their website at http://www.ala.org/alsc/.

The next scheduled Baby Sensory Program at the Greece Public Library will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 9:30AM in the Welsh Room. The program is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.greecepubliclibrary.org.

Photos by Karen Fien